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Book/Printed Material Leaves of grass.

[ Feinberg Whitman Coll Copy 3 ]

About this Item


  • Leaves of grass.


  • Walt Whitman (1819-92) is generally considered to be the most important American poet of the 19th century. He published the first edition of his major work, Leaves of Grass, in 1855. For the remainder of his life, Whitman produced further editions of the book, ending with the ninth, or "deathbed," edition in 1891-92. What began as a slim book of 12 poems was by the end of his life a thick compendium of almost 400. Whitman regarded each version as its own distinct book and continuously altered the contents. He added new poems, named or renamed old ones, and, until 1881, repeatedly regrouped them. He developed the typography, appended annexes, reworded lines, and changed punctuation, making each edition unique. Shown here is the rare first edition, which Whitman printed without the author's name on the title page. Publication of the book was heralded by anonymous reviews printed in New York papers, which clearly were written by Whitman himself. They accurately described the break-through nature of his "transcendent and new" work. "An American bard at last!" trumpeted one self-review. Whitman also received a generous boost of publicity from the best-selling writer Fanny Fern, who befriended the newly published poet and championed Leaves as daring and fresh in her popular column in the New York Ledger on May 10, 1856. World Digital Library.


  • Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892.
  • Bemis, Frank Brewer, 1861-1935, former owner.
  • Bucke, Richard Maurice, 1837-1902, former owner.
  • Cook, Clarence, 1828-1900, former owner.
  • Craig, Edward Gordon, 1872-1966, former owner.
  • Field, Eugene, 1850-1895, former owner.
  • Groves, John Stuart, former owner.
  • Mosher, Thomas Bird, 1852-1923, former owner.
  • Terry, Ellen, Dame, 1847-1928, former owner.
  • Carolyn Wells Houghton Whitman Collection (Library of Congress)
  • Charles E. Feinberg Collection of Walt Whitman (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • Brooklyn, New York : [Walt Whitman], 1855


  • -  Author's name, Walter Whitman, appears in copyright statement on t.p. verso.
  • -  BAL and Myerson describe at least two issues, and various states of the copyright page, p. iv, frontispiece, and binding.
  • -  LC copy has copyright page and p. iv in 2nd state, frontispiece in 1st state, and binding in BAL state A.
  • -  BAL 21395
  • -  Myerson, J. Whitman, p. 12-20
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.
  • -  LAC tnb 2019-08-22 no edits (14 cards)
  • -  Recat to AACR2: qr15 01-27-95


  • 95 p., [1] leaf of plates : 1 port. ; 29 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • PS3201 1855
  • PS3201 1855 Copy 2 Copy 2. Copyright page and p. iv in 2nd state, frontispiece in 1st state, and binding in BAL state A.
  • PS3201 1855 Copy 3 Copy 3. Copyright page and p. iv in 2nd state, frontispiece in 1st state, and binding in BAL state A.
  • PS3201 1855a Copy 2 Copy 2 of the above issue.
  • PS3201 1855a Copy 3 Copy 3 of the above issue. Bookplate of Frank Brewer Bemis.
  • PS3201 1855a Copy 4 Copy 4 of the above issue. Frontispiece port. in 1st state. Bookplate of Eugene Field.
  • PS3201 1855a Copy 5 Copy 5 of the above issue. Formerly owned by William C. Keelunte, John Stuart Groves (bookplate).
  • PS3201 1855a Copy 6 Copy 6 of the above issue. Bookplate of Thomas B. Mosher.
  • PS3201 1855a Another issue. With [8] prelim. pages of press notices; frontispiece port. on India paper mounted on heavy plate paper; plain endpapers; covers without gilt borders or gilt lettering on back or ornaments on spine.
  • PS3201 1855e Copy 2 Copy 2 of the variant. Formerly owned by Clarence Cook, Ellen Terry (port. enclosed), Edward Gordon Craig.
  • PS3201 1855e Copy 3 Copy 3 of the variant.
  • PS3201 1855e Variant. Priority uncertain. Binding in BAL state B; without press notices; frontispiece in 1st state; yellow endpapers. Signed by the author. Bookplate of R.M. Bucke.
  • PS3201 1855f Another issue. In paper wrappers.
  • PS3201 1855g Another issue. 1st English issue, with label above imprint: London, Wm. Horsell, 492 Oxford-street.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 03023679

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright or any other restrictions in the documents in this collection. However, some of the content may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and/or by the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations. Additionally, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by privacy and/or publicity rights. The determination of the status of an item ultimately rests with the person desiring to reproduce or use the item.

Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Whitman, Walt, Frank Brewer Bemis, Richard Maurice Bucke, Clarence Cook, Edward Gordon Craig, Eugene Field, John Stuart Groves, et al. Leaves of Grass. [Brooklyn, New York: Walt Whitman, 1855] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Whitman, W., Bemis, F. B., Bucke, R. M., Cook, C., Craig, E. G., Field, E. [...] Charles E. Feinberg Collection Of Walt Whitman. (1855) Leaves of Grass. [Brooklyn, New York: Walt Whitman] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Whitman, Walt, et al. Leaves of Grass. [Brooklyn, New York: Walt Whitman, 1855] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.